Enhancing Food Security through Improved Post-Harvest Practice in the Dry Zone of Myanmar

June 6, 2018

Metal Silos used for Seed Storage. Photo: Adaptation Fund/UNDP

Daw Thet Khine Win, a Beneficiary and Member of the User Group Speaking at the Ceremony. Photo: Adaptation Fund/UNDP

Mandalay, 6 June 2018 – The Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and UNDP handed over a seed storage facility to a farmers’ group in Boe Daw Taw village in Shwebo township on 6th June. The support is being provided to enhance access to quality seeds through a simple locally-available technology that reduces post-harvest losses, thereby contributing to increased food security in the Dry Zone of Myanmar.

The facility comprises of an elevated storage shed and 14 metallic silos, each with a capacity of 350 kilograms. The metal silos are double-layered cylindrical structures where sand is applied in between the two cylindrical layers. The sand helps maintain ambient temperature and moisture inside the silos and prevents the crop seeds from decay and infestation by insect, birds and rodents. Traditionally, dry zone farmers store grains and seeds in bamboo baskets or sacks (made of jute or polyethylene) which are easily damaged by insects, birds and rodents.

According to a study conducted by UNDP, post-harvest losses in the dry zone of Myanmar are as high as 20% and this occurs mainly during post-harvest handling and storage. As a result, farmers are not able to maintain quality seeds for the next season and this has serious implications on food security for dry zone farmers.

“Seeds are one of the basic inputs for farming. We are very pleased the storage facility has helped us minimize losses and preserve seeds for the next season” – said Daw Thet Khine Win - a member of the user group.

The storage facility will benefit 37 marginal farmers in Boe Daw Taw village. Overall, the project is providing 36 such facilities benefiting 895 households (748 male-headed households and 147 female-headed households) in 5 townships.

Daw May Kywel Win of Department of Agriculture said - “Farmers will now be able to access quality seeds and the Department of Agriculture is committed to disseminate this technology to other villages in the township”

The storage facilities are being provided as part of a project “Addressing Climate Change Risks on Water Resources and Food Security in the Dry Zone of Myanmar”. The project aims to benefit more than 250,000 people living in five townships - Shwebo and Monywa in Sagaing Region, Myingyan and Nyaung Oo in Mandalay Region, and Chauk in Magway Region. 

The USD 7.9 million, four-year project, the first in Myanmar to receive funding from the Adaptation Fund, is being implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC), and specifically the Dry Zone Greening Department based in Mandalay. The project started in 2015 and will conclude in 2019.

“Secure storage facilities are essential to maintain critical food reserves and achieve price stabilization at the local level during times of drought or natural disaster. During harvest and post-harvest period, extreme climate conditions (such as erratic rain) and inferior storage systems combined with anthropogenic effects such as labour shortages and lack of timely labour inputs result in deterioration and collapse of harvested grain. I am pleased farmers in the Dry Zone are benefitting from this pilot activity” - said Dawn Del Rio, Deputy Country Director of UNDP.

Through the project, communities in Myanmar’s Dry Zone are benefitting from various activities ranging from soil and water resources management, watershed protection to climate resistant farming and livestock practices and climate risk information management - to help them better adapt to the impacts of climate change.